Prep Profile - Worcester Academy

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Prep Profile - Worcester Academy

This is the year Worcester has been waiting for, and building towards, for the last four years.

Quest Harris and Judson Martindale arrived as freshmen. Michael Rabinovich has been there since middle school. Even Josh Ogundele arrived from England as a sophomore.

Head coach Jamie Sullivan invested in the future with all four of them, playing them early and allowing them to learn through their mistakes.

Now it’s time to reap the rewards for that gained collective experience as they hope to punctuate their careers with a NEPSAC AA championship.

The Returners

It all starts with that senior foursome, and while Harris is the only of the bunch who remains uncommitted, he’s always been the leader for Worcester. You just aren’t going to find many tougher, more engaged, two-way guards in New England. Offensively, he can create tempo, get into the lane, and make plays for himself and others. Defensively, he can pick-up the length of the floor and harass other ball-handlers. Most importantly, is the relentless approach and leadership he brings to both ends of the floor.

Ogundele, who committed to Iowa last week, has made tremendous strides in his time at Worcester. His talent level has always been undeniable with his big frame inside and a soft touch, not just around the rim but extending out to the perimeter. They keys have always been with regard with his conditioning and motor and after making steady strides in both areas, he should be ready to assert himself as the toughest low-post cover in AA

Martindale and Rabinovich are united by their college decision, as both signed with Holy Cross, but their respective paths to that same point were very different. Martindale had the burden of early expectations compounded by injuries but had a revitalization of sorts last year as a junior as he got himself into the best shape of his life, showed off his explosiveness at the rim, and established his three-point shot as a weapon.

Conversely, Rabinovich is a late-bloomer who only started to come into his own within the last 18 months. He’s made rapid strides in that time though, showing a unique combination of size and versatility, while still only just beginning to tap into his long-term potential.

Also back from last year’s team is Jhamyl Fricas, an athletic and competitive two-sport star who spent his fall standing out on the gridiron but will be a valuable rotation piece during the winter hoops season as well.

The Newcomers

Noah Semple and Leo Chaikin are the two most notable incoming upperclassmen. Semple is a 6-foot-7 big man from Florida who is also a two-sport star who will provide a valuable back-up behind Ogundele and Rabinovich while allowing Worcester to maintain their size within their second unit. Chaikin is an athletic Vermont native with a lot of burst in his game who has already added a division II offer since his arrival.

The Underclassmen

Even as the Hilltoppers hope to capitalize on the experience of their veteran core, they are simultaneously restarting the process of building from the ground up. Sophomore point guard Dasonte Bowen begins his second season with the program and is the best long-term prospect on the team. Blessed with good size and instincts, he’s benefitted from competing with Harris every day in the off-season and then sharing the backcourt with him during the winter months.

6-foot-9 sophomore Abdullah Mahamed joins the team from the Foxboro area this year and is another very talented long-term prospect. While his best days are far ahead of him, there’s still the potential for him to make immediate contributions this year thanks to his size, naturally soft touch offensively, and good defensive instincts.

Daniel Becil is another incoming sophomore. The New York native is a fundamentally sound and highly skilled guard who should provide backcourt depth this season and be able to take his game to new levels down the road as his frame fills out.

Freshman guard Kayvaun Mulready is already physically mature and well-known for his ability to overpower his peers with his playmaking ability. That early strength will help him get on the floor and hold his own against opposing guards that are three or four years older than him this year though.

Defining Characteristics

Again, it’s all about that senior core as Worcester has been committed to building from the ground up under Sullivan and should consequently be as experienced and cohesive a team as there is in AA. Of course, it’s not just about the intangibles as they’ve got the sheer talent to be among the favorites and simultaneously compete with anyone in New England. Their size should also be a big factor though. There simply aren’t many other teams who are going to roll out frontlines of 6-9, 6-9, and 6-5 while bringing 6-9 and 6-7 off the bench and simultaneously be able to sport an athletic backcourt. And of course, this will be a gritty bunch. Any team of Sullivan’s is going to play hard and defend, and any team led by Harris is going to follow suit even more.

Bottom Line

This is the year they’ve been waiting for.

They have the talent, experience, continuity, depth, and size to be among the very best teams in Class AA of the NEPSAC and if the early reviews are any indication, they look to be one of two heavy favorites going into the season.